Portrait of three girls chatting with their smartphones at the park
Image: Shutterstock/nenetus

As you grow and mature into a beautiful a** woman, you will be met with more and more responsibilities. Whether it’s work, social situations or family events, knowing the proper etiquette is really important to creating and maintaining a good reputation. Using proper etiquette does not mean you are stuck up or old-fashioned, it simply means you are polite and considerate of others in social situations. Don’t you want others to treat you as you would like to be treated? It really is simple, just be kind and considerate. Mama didn’t raise no fool.

It’s also worth noting that these “rules” aren’t super rigid or strict. It isn’t as if failing to comply with these rules means you’re a rude slob. If it helps, don’t even think of them as rules! One thing I like to do is think to myself, “What is the kindest way I can go about this situation?” to guide me in the right direction. As long as you have good intentions, your true grace will shine through and prove to everyone your good character. Take each of these with a grain of salt.

RSVP

If you are invited to an important event such as a wedding or a formal party, make sure you send back your RSVP with plenty of time for the host to prepare. Don’t cancel right before the event, and definitely don’t say you’ll come and then don’t show up! The host is probably spending a lot of time and money planning this event, and if you mess with the head count, it can cause extra stress and waste money. Do your host a favor and respond back with a “yes” or a “no” so it is clear whether or not you’ll be there.

Guests to events should always be invited, or included in a +1. If you’re unsure, don’t bring anyone extra. Unplanned guests can add to the cost and increase confusion about seating and crowds. Just don’t do it!

Thank you notes

After receiving a gift, or even simply a favor or task done for you, a thank you note is an easy way to show that you appreciate someone else’s work. It’s simply necessary. Make sure to do it in a timely manner, too! Sending a thank you note months after the act is done is unnecessary and rude. Especially when it comes to job interviews and business affairs, sending a thank you note quickly is so important. Something simple and not too complicated will work best, as long as you’re getting the point across. Chances are, if you thank them in a polite way, they’ll be much more willing to do you another favor in the future.

Work

While at work, you are trying to convey a professional air about yourself to either nail a position, or keep one. First of all, make sure to dress appropriately and professionally. The way you dress is a huge form of nonverbal communication, so pay attention to how your choices may be perceived. Don’t wear a top that is too low cut! As much as we love a little cleavage here and there, it doesn’t exactly scream professionalism.

Simple conversation etiquette at work will take you a long way as well. Since you’re probably a newer employee at your big girl job, putting forth a hard-working and diligent attitude will show a lot. Practice a firm handshake, keep eye contact and always stand when you are introduced to someone. Simple manners will show a lot to your supervisors and coworkers.

If you go to a work-related dinner, be modest and follow a few rules. Don’t order anything too expensive. It might look like you are taking advantage of your host, which is never good. If he or she makes a recommendation to you, it is acceptable to order one of those. Just not the most expensive item on the menu.

Cell phones

This one seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at the number of people who are terribly rude with their cell phones. These are the general rules you should follow in order to not be that person.

  • If you’re having a conversation with someone and you’re on your phone at all, they don’t have your full attention.
  • If you need to take an important call, excuse yourself from the conversation and walk away to take the call.
  • If you’re in public and everyone can hear what you’re talking about, you’re being too loud.
  • In any quiet setting (movie theater, class, business meeting or dinner) your phone should be on silent or OFF. You can survive a few hours without taking a selfie…

Speaking of selfies, places not to take one: a wedding, during a conversation, during a performance of any sort, and at a funeral. There are probably many more places where you shouldn’t be admiring your own beauty from your phone screen, but just use your best judgement. When in doubt, just wait until you get home.

Dining

While out to eat in a setting you’re not used to, you might be worried about what your eating habits will say about you. Some dining etiquette is really strict and a bit ridiculous, so I just like to stick to a few common sense rules.

  • Don’t reach across anyone to pass food or condiments. Who wants a random arm in their face when trying to eat?
  • Don’t use your napkin as a tissue. Because, gross.
  • Don’t begin eating until your host does. This is common courtesy and will show how polite you are.
  • Place your fork upside down on your plate to signal the wait staff that you are finished. No awkward “Um, are you finished?” conversations.
  • Be polite to the wait staff. This shows more about your character than you think!

21st century etiquette

While the above etiquette guidelines will help you through life, they could be a little outdated. What about social media? Here are some more modern takes on etiquette in more casual situations.

  • Don’t let your friends Instagram photo get no likes.
  • Don’t ask the host for the wifi password right away. Have a bit of conversation, then politely ask.
  • Don’t ditch your friends, then post snapchats of you with other people. Rude.
  • Take at least one earbud out when talking to someone.
  • Don’t post an Instagram photo if your friend has his or her eyes closed in it. Look at everyone’s faces in the photo before posting, not just yours.

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